The Results of Integrating a MOOC Into On-Campus Teaching

 Dr. Masato Kajimoto from HKU’s Making Sense of News gave a seminar to teachers on January 14, 2016 about his experience in integrating a MOOC into on-campus teaching. 

Producing MOOCs has become a global trend but the big question remains: How can MOOCs bring positive impact to on-campus teaching and learning?

Dr. Masato Kajimoto from the Journalism and Media Studies Centre at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) recently flipped part of his on-campus lectures with materials taken from his MOOC Making Sense of News. The MOOC was first launched in May 2015 and was subsequently repurposed to flip 5 lectures out of 13 for an on-campus counterpart. The whole experiment was a treasurable data mine and it provided new insights into how MOOCs and on-campus teaching can supplement each other.

The course attracted over 7,500 students from 147 countries in its first run and was a prized specimen for researchers, data analysts and online course developers alike. By studying the dataset, correlations among different student demographics, learning patterns (e.g., clicking and seeking) and performance can be examined. An interesting finding was that students who performed best in assignments did not have high engagement in forums, probably meaning that they did not require much peer assistance in understanding the contents.

The MOOC was then repurposed into materials for partly flipping an on-campus course at HKU. In the process of repurposing, Dr. Kajimoto beefed up the contents with additional readings and local examples. He even incorporated ideas and examples submitted by his MOOC students into his on-campus online teaching materials, facilitating inter-cultural knowledge exchange. The process was relatively simple, Dr. Kajimoto remarked, as he could easily identify which part of the on-campus course overlaps with the MOOC and plan in advance how to flip the class.

Although producing a MOOC takes more effort than face-to-face (F2F) lecturing, in Dr. Kajimoto’s point of view, the benefits outweigh the costs. As every single word in the videos has to be scripted, having a solid script helped Dr. Kajimoto realize how repetitive on-campus lectures are and how time in class can be better spent. Flipping the lectures also resulted in better activities engagement and quality of discussion, as students had much more time and motivation to prepare for tutorials. Peer pressure was also a factor as students fear lagging behind their classmates.

Dr. Kajimoto’s observations were backed up by the semester-end student survey, which showed that students enjoyed the blended mode of learning. A student expressed that

Concepts were easier to understand because of the concise descriptions from the videos.

Over 76% of learners also indicated that the online lectures enabled them to better manage their study time and facilitated their preparation for the tutorial discussions and exercises. When asked whether they would prefer solely F2F lectures, over 62% disagreed. It exemplified that “MOOC and on-campus teaching can help each other,” in Dr. Kajimoto’s own words.

Making Sense of News will be re-launched on edX next week. Join the ride and enroll now!